Late comeback rattles Belgium, but Scots come up just short
MEN’S FOUR NATIONS TOURNAMENT Belgium may be fifth in the world rankings to Scotland’s 24th, but they only just edged victory at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre in the opening game of the four nations tournament yesterday, writes Craig Madden.
The Scots took a shock lead in seven minutes; a lifted ball was poorly trapped by a Belgian defender and fell kindly to Kenny Bain, the Hurley striker, who calmly rounded the goalkeeper and slipped the ball home.
The Belgians struck back with two goals in as many minutes midway through the half. First, a long ball was not cut out by the Scots defence and Tanguy Cosyns deflected it past Gavin Sommerville, before Iain Scholefield illegally stopped the ball on the line and Tom Boon fired into the net from the spot.
Belgium stepped up the pace after the break and moved 4-1 ahead through Loick Luypaert from a penalty corner and Boon, but the Scots were not finished. Six minutes from time, they were awarded their first penalty corner and Bain’s shot at goal was sweetly deflected into the roof of the net by Chris Grassick.
The Belgian defence was then caught by a Grassick cross and Gary Cameron was left with a simple tap in at the back post. ALYSON McKECHIN: opened with a tidy round of 72 back-nine with three successive birdies from the 10th en route to a five-under 70.
Lauren Whyte, the former Scottish girls’ champion from St Andrews, made an explosive start with birdies at one and two before finishing with a flourish by making an eagle 3 on the 18th in an eventful 72. Connie Jaffrey, the talented Troon teenager, opened with a 74 but it was a torrid day for Anne Laing, the former Scottish champion and Curtis Cup player, who struggled to a 92.
Edinburgh’s Sally Conway missed out on a European Championship medal in Montpellier, France, and had to settle for seventh place, writes Roddy Mackenzie. Chasing her first European medal, she began positively when she beat the Russian Irina Gazieva nBarry Middleton, the England striker, celebrated his 300th cap but his side failed to live up to expectation and were held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina. Alistair Brogdon put England ahead in only three minutes but Argentina drew level through Manuel Brunet. England went 2-1 up in the second half with a penalty corner rebound shot from Mark Gleghorne but Agustin Mazzilli waltzed past the English defence and slipped in a spectacular goal. by waza-ari and two yukos to reach the quarter-finals of the Under-70kg event, but the world No.9 then lost to Fanny Posvite, from France, who had beaten her in the Paris Grand Slam earlier this year. That meant she could not win gold and left her competing for a bronze medal in the repechage but she lost her first fight by a single shido to the Croat Barbara Matic, which ruled her out of medal contention.
Top level action returns to Scotland this weekend with the mammoth Strathclyde Park Regatta taking place on Strathclyde Loch, Scotland’s Olympic-standard course, writes Mike Haggerty. More than 100 races will be staged today and tomorrow, with more than 500 crews racing, from almost every club in Scotland, as well as visitors from Ireland and England. Strathclyde Park is currently being prepared as the triathlon venue for the Commonwealth games later this summer, which means that the rowing course – usually the Olympic distance of 2000 metres – will be reduced to 1500m. The event incorporates the annual Scottish Universities’ Championships.
Inveraray hope to win the battle of the south today, after securing the services of a player more accustomed to football, writes Kenneth Stephen. The Winterton outfit, who have struggled so far this season, take on the Macaulay Cup holders, Kyles Athletic, and included in their ranks will be John Kennedy, a talented college footballer who also has a knack with a caman. He returns from Scotland from his a soccer scholarship in the USA and will play in the Artemis Macaulay Cup first-round tie in Argyll. nThe women’s FIH Champions Challenge event has been a happy hunting ground for Gordon Shepherd’s Scotland over the past three years – they took bronze in 2011 and were fourth a year later – and he starts his third tournament with an opening fixture against Belgium tomorrow.
Although the Belgians are 12th in the world rankings, four places above the Scots, Shepherd’s charges have the knack of punching above their weight against more fancied
Garry Macpherson, the player manager, said: “John played for Kilmory a while back before heading to the States on a football scholarship. He’s very fit, as you would expect, but he’s also tall and has a real presence so he will be a good addition for us.”
Kyles paraded this trophy last term after defeating Newtonmore in an excellent final but have traditionally found Inveraray a tough nut to crack. Inveraray managed to get among the goals last week in the AJG Parcels Celtic Society Cup and Macpherson hopes that’s the fillip they need to progress.
In the other main tie, lower-league Kilmallie face Newtonmore, the 2013 finalists, at Canal Park.
Ryan Fisher, the former Edinburgh Monarchs No.1, will miss Peterborough Panthers’ Premier League meeting at Glasgow Tigers tomorrow, having been ordered to take a week’s rest after suffering a back problem from a crash at Leicester Lions last weekend, writes Nigel Duncan. Fisher aggravated the injury in Poland on Easter Monday and Panthers have booked in-form Richard Lawson, son of the Glasgow legend Steve Lawson, to guest. Blayne Scroggins, Panthers co-manager, said: “It is a big blow for any club to be without their No 1, but we could not have a better guest than Richard who is in red-hot form. He is flying in the Elite League and the Premier League.” nEdinburgh Monarchs’ opening Premier League home meeting against Sheffield Tigers last night had to be postponed just half an hour before tapes-up. Heavy rain which fell from 6.30pm gave the referee no option. Berwick Bandits host their oldest rivals Newcastle Diamond tonight (7pm) in their Premier League outing. sides. “We go into every game feeling we can get something from it,” Shepherd said.
“If we play to our strengths and ability then we can win against Belgium, but they are a very good team.
“The girls have worked hard in their full-time training and the games last week gave a bit of confidence to our attacking play.”
Tomorrow’s other pool match is between the two tournament favourites, South Korea and India.